Although regular readers of this blog know that I have favored Obama for reelection as opposed to Romney, I have never painted a coherent picture as to why, but only given glimpses of my reasoning here and there. Not that I think I will sway anyone at this point. It is likely that all of you have decided what you will do, including not vote. (One reader voted for me, which was heart warming, but I’m trying to see if I can shift the vote to Obama somehow, like they do in conventions). I do want to put down some thoughts, for possible future reference if nothing else. After that I plan on shutting up until Nov 9, the Friday following the election. I am about as sick of all this as you probably are.
The Short Version:
I began to describe my reasons for supporting Barack Obama and the piece began to look like a booklet, not a post. So, though this is not short (you might want to grab a beverage before continuing), it is the shortened impressionistic version:
The Republicans have consistently painted Obama’s term with every ugly color they could find. On the more absurd side has been coloring the president as un-American by birth or in spirit or both and dabbing on the reddish hue of a socialist. No matter that Warren Buffet, who has made his huge fortune thanks to capitalism, is a staunch supporter. The Republicans also blame him for the slow recovery we have had from a recession which the Bush team left at the White House door step when they left.
To evaluate the president’s performance one must understand this was not just another recession, but the worst since the Depression. No other had to repair a collapsed housing market, with millions of mortgages going under water, a market which is only beginning to come back now. The Republicans continue to blame the president for trillion dollar deficits each year but a 2011 study in the NY Times described the primary sources of those deficits as “the Bush-era tax cuts, war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recessions.”
The same Republicans who now act holier-than-thou regarding fiscal responsibility went along with billions in unbudgeted spending by Bush and we are still paying for that while the recession has sharply reduced government income also prompting greater deficits. Add to this the Republican congressional resistance to anything Obama has proposed, even if they had proposed similar things before. Factor in their refusal to consider raising taxes along with budget cuts – a combination most economists and financial types think necessary if we are really going to confront our budget problems – and most of their criticisms are misleading at best, lies at worst.
Under an Obama administration an economic collapse was averted and, while there is plenty that might be criticized, we are still a float and the economy is slowly on the mend. And, yes, despite the Republican talking point to the contrary, the 800 billion stimulus did work according to a large majority of studies. Of course, the amount of national debt remains a huge problem dead ahead, but it is not as if Romney/Ryan have the answer, despite the pretense of having a detailed plan. Again, their plan does not include tax hikes, so it lacks a basis in reality according to most serious opinion on the issue, including some figures on the right, though not on the far right of course. At least Obama begins with a sense of reality, despite his vagaries.
I would sum up Obama’s domestic performance as decent amidst awful conditions, which makes decent relatively good. His performance in foreign policy was even better I think, but that is debatable. In any event, Mitt Romney’s foreign policy isn’t much different as he articulated in the third debate. Those willing to give Obama a fair shake would have to admit that all in all, he’s done a fair job, which is why moderate Republican Collin Powell is endorsing him once again – not because he’s also black as Romney surrogate John Sununu has suggested. Sununu being one of many Republicans whom I find disgusting. Donald Trump would be another.
Whatever his short-comings as president, Obama is a student of history and I believe he can learn from his mistakes, such as remaining aloof from the nitty gritty of congressional politics. Prior to the last election he was often criticized for his inexperience, both as an executive and in foreign policy. Now he has four years of experience in both arenas, as president no less, something I think he will build upon. In comparison, Mitt Romney is a rookie.
Which reminds me that I am not only voting for Barack Obama, but against Mitt Romney. I have paid close attention to him over these past seven months as indicated in several of my 60 posts, and I still do not know who Mitt Romney is. NO, REALLY! The frequent chameleon-like portrayal is not a caricature but a crystal clear image of Mitt’s positions and stances which swirl around like an old lava lamp. It all just keeps changing in front of our eyes. I love that one comment of his to a reporter who questioned him about a previous statement. Romney said: “I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was.”
I do think he has some impressive accomplishments and if president, he might add more, but I can not predict what they would be. At their convention his wife Ann assured us in her speech that if Mitt was elected “he will not fail.” And I thought, fail to do what? He says if he is elected he will create 12 million new jobs, but many economists predict that is the amount of new jobs that will be created no matter who is president.
More often Romney simply asserts that in every area he will do better than Obama. He is slipperier than a greased pig when it comes to what and how, but apparently he thinks the Obama brand has become so tainted (with tons of help from Mitt’s cronies of course) that it only takes a relentless effort to portray himself, Mitt, as the Un-Obama to win the day.
The following Romney comment said behind closed doors regarding those who do not pay federal income tax is enough for me not to vote for him. “There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
But putting all that aside, even judging by the lowest denominator, I’d vote for Barack Obama preferring the devil I know to the etch-a-sketch one I don’t. This is especially so as I believe the one thing we can depend upon in a Romney presidency is more conservative nominees to the supreme court which already tilts in that direction. At least a couple of judges seem likely to retire over the next four years.
Do you really want our Supreme Court to become more conservative than it is now and to remain that way possibly for decades?
I don’t, a final reason why I will vote for Barack Obama.